Bailey Chapman Transcends Her Talents From Drumstick to Paintbrush
At the end of every road, behind every recuperated screen door that lines our quaint town, some Dentonite is busy crafting away at their niche, attempting to embody that flood of creativity swilling about in their head. Recently, we were able to tap into the heart of Bailey K. Chapman, local artist and musician, who so graciously shared with us her history as an artist, her love for collaboration, and what makes her art her own.
From her earliest memories, Chapman has consistently been surrounded by fine arts in one way or another. Born to a father who works as a painter and potter, and a mother who has a strong love of the arts, Chapman recalled the first painting she ever did was, in fact, a Mother’s Day Card. “I was probably around five, and my Dad built a giant canvas for Mother’s Day, roughly five by six feet. He painted the background while we [my sister and I] did the foreground. It was my first painting and collaboration as well.”
Onward and upward to adulthood, art continued to play a significant role in her life, inspiring her to pursue a BFA in painting from the University of North Texas and then a Master of Fine Arts degree from Texas Woman’s University. She experimented with a variety of mediums but found oil painting, specifically walnut oil, to be her favorite tools of the trade. “I love the look of walnut oil with oil paintings. The control you have from working with [such a product] in regards to how much it can change the overall look of a painting has always really interested me,” Chapman says. “The gloss of the painting in some areas combined with the dryness in other spots really gives that variety I look for in my work.” Her stylistic choices, such as the use of walnut oil, really are what make Chapman’s artwork impeccably unique.
Upon viewing her artwork as a piece to be studied, the viewer is instantly fixated on the calm, yet equally busy scenes. One is presented with a vast and otherwise tranquil landscape; however, the more time focused on a piece, the more there is to be found. More dimension, layers, beauty that fit perfectly into the grand scheme of each painting. When asked of the inspiration for using such intricacies, Chapman says that “painting is the only realm where I get to make up my own world, which is why I like to hark back to landscape. I’m trying to make a scene for you to insert yourself in. When you’re standing in front of a space you have all of these designated spaces….I like to push through the spaces by changing the way you perceive layers. I like to confuse, yet make the space more interesting.”
Chapman collaborates with other artists, such as her sister Ayrton Chapman, which she says has been some of her favorite experiences. “Back in 2011, we did a 3-part piece in the UNT Union that was just massive. We painted two ten foot paintings (intended as a diptych), built frames and stretched them, then went up to the union for a test run. Turns out our designated area was divided by two pillars, so we ended up having to cut one of the pieces in half, rebuild and restretch the canvases and install the “new” triptych. “ Her love for collaboration has led her to some experiences with mixed media, including live painting alongside a live dancer in a shared space with fellow TWU students. On several occasions, one can also find Chapman behind the sticks and skins for her two local music side projects, ABACABA and Pearl Earl. It seems this artist knows no limits to where her creativity can take her.
Want to dive a bit deeper? Visit baileykchapman.com and get lost in those layers we love so much.